Letter: Bombs will not win

WE ARE informed in your leading article (23 August) that the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombers hate the United States because it is "modern, secular, freewheeling, decadent and, above all, attractive to the great mass of humanity". Rubbish! The problems arise from US support for Israel, the endless clash between US attempts to control the oil regions and the desire of their peoples for self-determination, and America's trigger-happy tactics.

You also peddle the "retaliation is a regrettable necessity" line. Why do commentators believe this tripe? Israel has consistently pursued a policy of violent retaliation but this has not stopped the rocket attacks and the suicide bombers. What it has achieved is to turn the populations of the surrounding states into bitter foes and to provide fertile recruiting grounds for the bombers. A "strong response" plays into the hands of the terrorist and loses us the vital battle for hearts and minds that is the only effective weapon we have against them. If we want to halt Islamic terror we must address the questions that turn sections of the Muslim world against us. We need to show the ordinary people that we are not their enemies.